Before 2013, in addition to video lottery terminal gaming allowed at race tracks, the New York only offered casino gaming at venues operated by tribes in the state, with commercial Las Vegas-style gaming nonexistent. Changes to the gaming industry would take place in 2013 with a constitutional amendment backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo paving the way for as many as seven commercial casinos to be created in the state with up to four in Upstate New York. Since December, three commercial casinos have launched and after just a few weeks of full operation, the casinos have generated $40 million in revenues.
The first commercial casino to launch was Tioga Downs in Nichols. The Tioga Downs Casino simply needed to add casino games, including RNG slots in order to become operational so only a short time was needed to prepare. The del Lago Resort & Casino opened on February 1st while the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady opened on February 8th. Each gaming venue has been welcomed into its respective community due to the creation of jobs as well as creating revenues for the local municipalities and the state government.
The New York State Gaming Commission provides weekly financial reports on the gaming venues, making the information known to the public. Results show that $39.6 million has been generated in gross gaming revenues from a time frame spanning from December 4th to the 26th of February.
The Tioga Downs Casino was the first to open and is in operation due to the persistence of Jeff Gural, a real estate developer of New York. Gural had to try twice before he would be given a commercial casino license by regulators. Tioga Downs was the last to gain approval for licensing and the first to open. In December, the casino came to life with 461 slot games, 23 table games, and 12 poker tables. Since launching, the reports show that Tioga Downs has earned just over $16 million in revenues.
The next commercial casino to open in the state was the del Lago Resort & Casino. Having been in operation for little over a month, del Lago has already produced just over $13 million. The casino has the same number of poker tables as the Tioga Downs but a lot more slot machines with 2001 games. During the first four weeks of operations, the slot games of the property brought in $10.4 million.
The last casino to open was the Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. This gaming venue has also been open just a little over a month and earned $10.1 million during the first three weeks of operations. The slot machines accounted for the majority of revenue, with 1,150 machines on the gaming floor producing $7.4 million. The casino has 67 table games and the most poker tables of the three commercial casinos with 15.
Over the past few weeks, each of the gaming venues has been able to successfully earn quality revenues from slots, table games, and poker. There is concern that saturation could occur and that the Upstate gambling market will eventually be affected. It will take some time to see if saturation will be an issue or if each venue will be able to stabilize and produce consistent revenues in their respective areas.